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The disgraceful case mounted against Assange by a corrupt U.S. Department of Justice and their hired guns in Britain.

It is this institutional lying and duplicity that Julian Assange brought into the open and in so doing performed perhaps the greatest public service of any journalist in modern times.

JOHN PILGER: U.S. wins extradition appeal against Julian Assange, Independent Australia, By John Pilger | 11 December 2021,  ”…….. Miscarriage of justice is an inadequate term in these circumstances. It took the bewigged courtiers of Britain’s ancien regime just nine minutes on Friday to uphold an American appeal against a District Court judge’s acceptance in January of a cataract of evidence that hell on Earth awaited Assange across the Atlantic: a hell in which, it was expertly predicted, he would find a way to take his own life.

Volumes of witness by people of distinction, who examined and studied Julian and diagnosed his autism and his Asperger’s Syndrome and revealed that he had already come within an ace of killing himself at Belmarsh Prison, Britain’s very own hell, were ignored.

The recent confession of a crucial FBI informant and prosecution stooge, a fraudster and serial liar, that he had fabricated his evidence against Julian was ignored. The revelation that the Spanish-run security firm at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where Julian had been granted political refuge, was a CIA front that spied on Julian’s lawyers and doctors and confidants (myself included) — that, too, was ignored.

The recent journalistic disclosure, repeated graphically by defence counsel before the High Court in October, that the CIA had planned to murder Julian in London — even that was ignored.

Each of these “matters”, as lawyers like to say, was enough on its own for a judge upholding the law to throw out the disgraceful case mounted against Assange by a corrupt U.S. Department of Justice and their hired guns in Britain. Julian’s state of mind, bellowed James Lewis, QC, America’s man at the Old Bailey last year, was no more than malingering — an archaic Victorian term used to deny the very existence of mental illness. 

To Lewis, almost every defence witness, including those who described from the depth of their experience and knowledge the barbaric American prison system, was to be interrupted, abused, discredited. Sitting behind him, passing him notes, was his American conductor: young, short-haired, clearly an Ivy League man on the rise.

In their nine minutes of dismissal of the fate of journalist Assange, two of the most senior judges in Britain, including the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett (a lifelong buddy of Sir Alan Duncan, Boris Johnson’s former Foreign Minister who arranged the brutal police kidnapping of Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy) referred to not one of a litany of truths aired at previous hearings in the District Court.

These were truths that had struggled to be heard in a lower court presided over by a weirdly hostile judge, Vanessa Baraitser. Her insulting behaviour towards a clearly stricken Assange, struggling through a fog of prison-dispensed medication to remember his name, is unforgettable.

What was truly shocking on Friday was that the High Court Judges – Lord Burnett and Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde, who read out their words – showed no hesitation in sending Julian to his death, living or otherwise. They offered no mitigation, no suggestion that they had agonised over legalities or even basic morality.

Their ruling in favour, if not on behalf of the United States, is based squarely on transparently fraudulent “assurances” scrabbled together by the Biden Administration when it looked in January like justice might prevail.

These “assurances” are that once in American custody, Assange will not be subject to the Orwellian SAMs – Special Administrative Measures – which would make him an un-person; that he will not be imprisoned at ADX Florence, a prison in Colorado long condemned by jurists and human rights groups as illegal: “a pit of punishment and disappearance”; that he can be transferred to an Australian prison to finish his sentence there.

The absurdity lies in what the Judges omitted to say. In offering its “assurances”, the U.S. reserves the right not to guarantee anything should Assange do something that displeases his gaolers. In other words, as Amnesty International has pointed out, it reserves the right to break any promise.

There are abundant examples of the U.S. doing just that. As investigative journalist Richard Medhurst revealed last month, David Mendoza Herrarte was extradited from Spain to the U.S. on the “promise” that he would serve his sentence in Spain. The Spanish courts regarded this as a binding condition.

Medhurst wrote:

‘Classified documents reveal the diplomatic assurances given by the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and how the U.S. violated the conditions of the extradition. Mendoza spent over six years in the U.S. trying to return to Spain. Court documents show the United States denied his transfer application multiple times.’

The High Court Judges – who were aware of the Mendoza case and of Washington’s habitual duplicity – describe the “assurances” not to be beastly to Julian Assange as a “solemn undertaking offered by one government to another”. This article would stretch into infinity if I listed the times the rapacious United States has broken “solemn undertakings” to governments, such as treaties that are summarily torn up and civil wars that are fuelled. It is the way Washington has ruled the world, and before it Britain — the way of imperial power, as history teaches us.

It is this institutional lying and duplicity that Julian Assange brought into the open and in so doing performed perhaps the greatest public service of any journalist in modern times.

Julian himself has been a prisoner of lying governments for more than a decade now. During these long years, I have sat in many courts as the United States has sought to manipulate the law to silence him and WikiLeaks………….. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/john-pilger-us-wins-extradition-appeal-against-julian-assange,15842

December 16, 2021 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

To obtain authorisation to commission the Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor, EDF must get full infomation on the incident at the Taishan EPR reactor.

To obtain authorization to commission the Flamanville EPR, EDF will first have to shed light on the Taishan EPR 1 incident in China, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) told Reporterre. Thursday, December 9. “ASN asked EDF to take account of the experience feedback from this event prior to the commissioning of the Flamanville EPR reactor.

To do this, EDF will either have to demonstrate that the Flamanville EPR is not affected, or propose
measures to prevent fuel degradation, “ASN wrote. “EDF is currently working in conjunction with the operator of Taishan (TNPJVC) and Framatome on the interpretation of the results of the checks on the fuel unloaded from the Taishan 1 reactor.

These analyzes aim to identify the phenomena that led to the rupture of the ducts. fuel and to determine whether the other EPR reactors are concerned, ”ASN added. The French nuclear gendarme says it has not obtained any information concerning the restart of Taishan 1 “which falls under the competence of its Chinese counterpart (NNSA)”.

 Reporterre 13th Dec 2021

December 16, 2021 Posted by | France, politics, safety | Leave a comment

Small nuclear reactors for military use would be too dangerous – excellent targets for the enemy

In normal operation, they release potentially hazardous quantities of fission products that would be widely distributed by any penetration of the reactor vessel. More worryingly, the resiliency of tri-structural isotropic particles to kinetic impact is questionable: The silicon carbide coating around the fuel material is brittle and may fracture if impacted by munitions.

Further, graphite moderator material, which is used extensively in most mobile power plant cores, is vulnerable to oxidation when exposed to air or water at high temperatures, creating the possibility of a catastrophic graphite fire distributing radioactive ash. Even in the case of intact (non-leaking) fuel fragments being distributed by a strike, the radiological consequences for readiness and effectiveness are dire.

Given these vulnerabilities, sophisticated adversaries seeking to hinder U.S. forces are likely to realize the utility of the reactor as an area-denial target…….. , a reactor strike offers months of exclusion at the cost of only a few well-placed high-explosive warheads, a capability well within reach of even regional adversaries

Even an unsuccessful or minimally damaging attack on a reactor could offer an adversary significant benefits…………..placing these reactors in combat zones introduces nuclear reactors as valid military targets,

MOBILE NUCLEAR POWER REACTORS WON’T SOLVE THE ARMY’S ENERGY PROBLEMS, War on the Rocks, 14 Dec 21, JAKE HECLA  ”………… As China and Russia develop microreactors for propulsion, the U.S. Army is pursuing the ultimate in self-sufficient energy solutions: the capability to field mobile nuclear power plants. In this vision of a nuclearized future, the Army will replace diesel generator banks with microreactors the size of shipping containers for electricity production by the mid-2020s.

…….  the question is whether or not reactors can truly be made suitable for military use. Are they an energy panacea, or will they prove to be high-value targets capable of crippling entire bases with a single strike?

nuclear power program is confidently sprinting into uncharted territory in pursuit of a solution to its growing energy needs and has promised to put power on the grid within three years. However, the Army has not fielded a reactor since the 1960s and has made claims of safety and accident tolerance that contradict a half-century of nuclear industry experience.


The Army appears set to credulously accept industry claims of complete safety that are founded in wishful thinking and characterized by willful circumvention of basic design safety principles……….. 

Continue reading

December 16, 2021 Posted by | Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

France’s Court of Audits demands information on the costs of future EPR nuclear reactors, and cost implications for waste management

 

The Court of Auditors called on Monday to take into account the uncertainties surrounding the cost of future EPR2 nuclear reactors, and to foresee the implications for waste management, as President Macron
announced the launch of a new construction program. “Regarding the cost of future EPR 2, uncertainty ranges on construction costs should be systematically tested, given the lack of maturity of this new reactor”, note the magistrates in their conclusions.

 Le Figaro 13th Dec 2021

https://www.lefigaro.fr/societes/cout-du-nucleaire-la-cour-des-comptes-veut-une-prise-en-compte-de-l-incertitude-sur-le-prix-des-epr2-20211213

December 16, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Climate change has crashed Earth’s ”air – conditioners” – the North and South poles.

Though the continent stays frozen for much of the year, rising temperatures in the Pacific have changed how air circulates around the South Pole, which in turn affects ocean currents. Warm, deep ocean water is welling up towards coastlines, lapping at the ice sheet’s weak frozen underbelly, weakening it from below.

“This is triggering the beginnings of a massive collapse,” Scampos wrote in an email from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where he is preparing for a field trip to Thwaites Glacier’s failing ice shelf………………………………….

Climate change has crashed Earth’s ‘air-conditioners’, risking rest of planet, The Age , By Sarah Kaplan, 16 Dec 21,   The ice shelf was cracking up. Surveys showed warm ocean water eroding its underbelly. Satellite imagery revealed long, parallel fissures in the frozen expanse, like scratches from some clawed monster. One fracture grew so big, so fast, scientists took to calling it “the dagger”.

“It was hugely surprising to see things changing that fast,” said Erin Pettit. The Oregon State University glaciologist had chosen this spot for her Antarctic field research precisely because of its stability. While other parts of the infamous Thwaites Glacier crumbled, this wedge of floating ice acted as a brace, slowing the melt. It was supposed to be boring, durable, safe.

Now climate change has turned the ice shelf into a threat – to Pettit’s field work and to the world.

Planet-warming pollution from burning fossil fuels and other human activities has already raised global temperatures more than 1.1 degrees Celsius. But the effects are particularly profound at the poles, where rising temperatures have seriously undermined regions once locked in ice.

In research presented this week at the world’s biggest earth science conference, Pettit showed that the Thwaites ice shelf could collapse within the next three to five years, unleashing a river of ice that could dramatically raise sea levels.

Up north, aerial surveys document how warmer conditions have allowed beavers to invade the Arctic tundra, flooding the landscape with their dams. Large commercial ships are increasingly infiltrating formerly frozen areas, disturbing wildlife and generating disastrous amounts of rubbish. In many Alaska Native communities, climate impacts compounded the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to food shortages among people who have lived off this land for thousands of years.

“The very character of these places is changing,” said Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre and co-editor of the Arctic Report Card, an annual assessment of the state of the top of the world. “We are seeing conditions unlike those ever seen before.”

The rapid transformation of the Arctic and Antarctic creates ripple effects all over the planet. Sea levels will rise, weather patterns will shift and ecosystems will be altered. Unless humanity acts swiftly to curb emissions, scientists say, the same forces that have destabilised the poles will wreak havoc on the rest of the globe.

“The Arctic is a way to look into the future,” said Matthew Druckenmiller, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre and another co-editor of the Arctic Report Card. “Small changes in temperature can have huge effects in a region that is dominated by ice.”

This year’s edition of the report card, which was presented at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting on Tuesday, describes a landscape that is transforming so fast scientists struggle to keep up. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the global average. The October to December 2020 period was the warmest on record, scientists say.

Separately on Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed a new temperature record for the Arctic: 38 degrees in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk on June 20, 2020.

These warm conditions are catastrophic for the sea ice that usually spans across the North Pole. This past northern summer saw the second-lowest extent of thick, old sea ice since tracking began in 1985. Large mammals like polar bears go hungry without this crucial platform from which to hunt. Marine life ranging from tiny plankton to giant whales are at risk.

“It’s an ecosystem collapse situation,” said Kaare Sikuaq Erickson, Inupiaq, whose business Ikaagun Engagement facilitates cooperation between scientists and Alaska Native communities.

The consequences of this loss will be felt far beyond the Arctic. Sea ice has traditionally acted as Earth’s “air conditioner”; it reflects as much as two-thirds of the light that hits it, sending huge amounts of solar radiation back into space.

By contrast, dark expanses of water absorb heat, and it is difficult for these areas to refreeze. Less sea ice means more open ocean, more heat absorption and more climate change.

“We have a narrow window of time to avoid very costly, deadly and irreversible climate impacts,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Rick Spinrad said.

Record highs have also sounded the death knell for ice on land. Three historic melting episodes struck Greenland in July and August, causing the island’s massive ice sheet to lose about 34 trillion kilograms. On August 14, for the first time in recorded history, rain fell at the ice sheet summit…….

Though the Greenland ice sheet is more than a mile thick at its centre, rain can darken the surface, causing the ice to absorb more of the sun’s heat, Moon said. It changes the way snow behaves and slicks the top of the ice.

The consequences for people living in the Arctic can be dire. …………..

In Antarctica, University of Colorado-Boulder glaciologist Ted Scampos said “climate change is more about wind changes and ocean changes than warming – although that is happening in many parts of it as well.”

Though the continent stays frozen for much of the year, rising temperatures in the Pacific have changed how air circulates around the South Pole, which in turn affects ocean currents. Warm, deep ocean water is welling up towards coastlines, lapping at the ice sheet’s weak frozen underbelly, weakening it from below.

“This is triggering the beginnings of a massive collapse,” Scampos wrote in an email from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where he is preparing for a field trip to Thwaites Glacier’s failing ice shelf………………………………….

For many Arctic residents, climate change is a threat multiplier – worsening the dangers of whatever other crises come their way. Another essay in the report card documents the threats to Alaska Natives’ food security caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Quarantine restrictions prevented people from travelling to their traditional harvesting grounds. Economic upheaval and supply chain issues left many supermarkets with empty shelves.

But the essay, which was co-written by Inupiaq, Hadia, Ahtna and Supiaq researchers, along with experts from other Native communities, also highlights how Indigenous cultural practices helped communities stave off hunger. Existing food sharing networks redoubled their efforts. Harvesting traditions were adapted with public health in mind………………….

Though no place on Earth is changing as fast as the Arctic, rising temperatures have already brought similar chaos to more temperate climes as well. Unpredictable weather, unstable landscapes and collapsing ecosystems are becoming facts of life in communities around the globe.

None of this represents a “new normal,” Moon cautioned. It’s merely a pit stop on a path to an even stranger and more dangerous future.

Global greenhouse gas emissions are on track to keep rising. Governments and businesses have not taken the steps needed to avert catastrophic warming beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. There is every reason to believe that instability at the poles – and around the planet – will get worse.

But achieving the best case climate scenarios could cut the volume of ice lost from Greenland by 75 per cent, research suggests. International cooperation could prevent garbage from getting into the oceans and alleviate the effects of marine noise. Better surveillance and early warning systems can keep people safe when melting triggers landslides and floods.

“There’s such a big range and difference in what the future of the Arctic and the future anywhere on our globe can look like,” Moon said. “It all depends on human actions.”

The Washington Post   https://www.theage.com.au/world/north-america/climate-change-has-crashed-earth-s-air-conditioners-risking-rest-of-planet-20211215-p59hny.html

December 16, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain could ”shatter like a car windscreen” in the next 5 to 10 years

 An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain could “shatter like a car windscreen” in the next five to 10 years, causing a significant rise in global sea levels, scientists have warned. The Thwaites glacier in the western Antarctic is the widest on earth at 80 miles across.

A huge part of it is now in danger of breaking off and releasing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice into the ocean. Data from a comprehensive study by the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) shows that this colossal glacier is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and the effects of its collapse would be devastating.

Thwaites – also known as the ‘Doomsday glacier’ – has already lost an estimated 900 billion metric
tons of ice since 2000. Its annual ice loss has doubled in the past 30 years, and it now loses approximately 45 billion metric tons more ice than it receives in snowfall per year, according to The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC).

If the glacier were to break up entirely and release all its water into the ocean, sea levels worldwide would rise by more than 2 feet (65 centimetres), said ITGC lead coordinator Dr Ted Scambos. “And it could lead to even more sea-level rise, up to 10 feet (3m), if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it,” Dr Scambos said in a statement.

 Telegraph 14th Dec 2021

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/12/14/antarctic-glacier-size-britain-could-shatter-like-car-windscreen/

December 16, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear test veterans ‘were victims of a crime

UK’s nuclear test veterans ‘were victims of a crime’ with one suffering 100 tumours

Many of the 22,000 men who served at nuclear bomb tests carried out by Britain have died from cancers and suffered rare blood disorders – Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram heard their tales of horror Mirror UK,  BySusie Boniface, 15 Dec 2021

Campaigning giants Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram have vowed to win recognition for Britain’s nuclear test veterans, telling them: “You were victims of a crime.”

The two metro mayors likened 70 years of official denials about the Cold War radiation experiments to Hillsborough, forced adoptions and the contaminated blood scandal.

Around 22,000 men served at 45 bomb tests and more than 600 radiation experiments in Australia, America and the South Pacific between 1952 and 1991. Many have died from cancers and suffered rare blood disorders. Their 155,000 descendants show 10 times the usual rate of birth defects, which the government refuses to investigate.

After meeting survivors, Mr Burnham said: “It feels like you were victims of a crime, and that has been passed down through your families.”

Mr Rotheram added: “The pattern of these scandals is the always the same. They deflect the truth, they make it about money, they deny, suppress, cover up, and blame.”

John Morris told them: “I don’t want their money, I just want the damned truth.”

In 1957, aged 20, he was among troops exposed on a beach when the 1.8 megaton Grapple X bomb was exploded 20 miles away. “I wore a shirt, shorts, and sunglasses. The flash was white, the heat like a blowtorch on your back, then we were knocked off our feet,” said John, 84, from Rochdale.

“There were 2,000 men running around, terrified. We couldn’t get in our wagons to get away because the tires had melted. If I told you to stand 20 miles away from the Sun, would you do it?”

After his return home, John was diagnosed with a radiation-related blood disorder. His first-born Steven died in 1962, aged four months, in an unexplained cot death. Daughter Liz Bacon said: “We’re made to feel unreasonable just for questioning it. He didn’t even get the autopsy report until 2018.”

Ex-railway manager Archie Hart, 84, of Warrington, told how he was an 18-year-old stoker on HMS Diana in 1956 when the ship was twice ordered to spend 8 hours in the fallout of atomic bombs in a human experiment designed to test the effect on ship and crew. Archie, wearing just a cotton hood for protection, was on deck throughout, and within two years began developing benign tumours.

“There’s 100 all over my body, some the size of tennis balls,” he told the mayors. “I can’t do the dance of the seven veils anymore, because my body’s an unsightly mess. What they did to us was morally wrong, and their cavalier attitude in the years since is causing problems to this day for the generations that follow.”

Both men have survived cancer, but told the mayors: “We were the lucky ones.”

Alan Owen, whose Royal Navy dad Jesse died aged 52 after witnessing 24 US bomb tests in 78 days in 1962, said: “The Americans compensated my family, but our own governments delay, deny, until we die.”

For more than 30 years the Mirror has campaigned for justice for the brave men who took part in Britain’s nuclear weapons tests.

The Ministry of Defence has fought back every step of the way.

We have told countless heartbreaking stories of grieving mums, children with deformities, men aged before their time and widows struggling to hold their families together, all while campaigning for recognition.

Two years ago we launched an appeal for a medal for the 1,500 survivors.

For the first time we were able to prove some were unwittingly used in experiments.

Our appeal was backed by then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson but his review foundered after he lost his job.

……………….. Mr Burnham said: “These are the tactics of the British state: to deflect onto the victims, use a lack of progress to grind people down, and create mental torture so people cannot fight injustice.”………………

Both mayors supported the idea of a medal for its “totemic significance” to veterans, whose average age is now 85, and promised to support a nuclear tests education programme to be rolled out across their regions’ schools, with veterans meeting children to discuss their personal legacy………………………  https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/uks-nuclear-test-veterans-were-25708681

December 16, 2021 Posted by | health, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Biden administration must end the environmental injustices of the nuclear era

Biden administration must end the environmental injustices of nuclear era  https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/12/14/22827937/renewable-energy-nuclear-biden-executive-order-chiefs-raiders-person-year-letters

If nuclear energy can’t be changed into something safe, it’s a bad idea to produce it in the first place Stephanie Bilenko, La Grange Park,  Dec 14, 2021,    President Joe Biden’s executive order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, created the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) to advise the federal government’s efforts to address environmental injustice.

In a May report, WHEJAC recommended ruling out nuclear power under the council’s criteria for federal investments that maximize benefits and avoid harm. WHEJAC concluded that nuclear power is not beneficial to communities that have suffered from environmental injustice and are on the frontlines of radioactive exposure, contamination and environmental degradation across the entire nuclear fuel chain and radioactive waste streams.

Instead of propping up aging reactors and perpetuating injustices, the Biden administration must implement policies that end injustice. Congress and the Biden administration should commit to phasing out nuclear power, cleaning up radioactive sites, making reparations to impacted communities and transitioning to 100% renewable energy — now.

The more nuclear power we generate now, the more radioactive waste will be stockpiled for generations far into the future. An essential boundary of appropriate tech is the boundary between matter you can change with tools on hand, and matter you can’t change. If it can’t be changed to something safe, it’s a bad idea to produce it in the first place.

Basic morality teaches us that we ought to leave the world a better place for those who come after us. If we know better, we have to do better.

December 16, 2021 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Federal inspector falsified safety reports at North Anna nuclear plant.

Federal inspector falsified safety reports at North Anna nuclear plant,   https://www.wric.com/news/virginia-news/breaking-federal-inspector-falsified-safety-reports-at-north-anna-nuclear-plant/by: Jakob CordesPosted: Dec 14, 2021  CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — A federal inspector who led safety efforts at the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant in Louisa County plead guilty this week to falsifying safety inspection reports.

The charges were filed after Gregory Croon’s retirement from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2020. In a press release, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said the charges were a result of a joint investigation between the OIG and NRC.

According to court documents obtained by 8News, Croon worked at the power plant for four years and was the senior inspector at the North Anna facility, overseeing safety inspections for the entire plant.

Over three separate quarterly reports in 2017, Croon was found to have lied about on-site inspections of key fire and flood safety systems, describing the completion of inspections that never actually took place. The systems in question included fire suppression mechanisms and flood barriers protecting key equipment.

While only a few specific instances of falsification were described in court documents, a statement of facts signed by Croon stated that for years he “allowed days or even weeks to pass without entering North Anna.”

Court documents go on to say that his immediate supervisor told him on several occasions to conduct physical inspections more frequently, but that Croon continued to avoid the plant.

The North Anna Nuclear Nuclear Generating Station is a 1892 Megawatt plant located on the shores of Lake Anna in Louisa County. It’s situated near major population centers in Central Virginia, about 60 miles from Richmond and 50 miles from Charlottesville.

“The accuracy of NRC inspection reports is critical to the NRC’s oversight of licensees’ safe operation of nuclear power plants around the nation,” said NRC Inspector General Robert J. Feitel. “Croon’s false statements could have jeopardized that safety oversight function.”

At a Dec. 13 hearing before the Hon. Judge Norman K. Moon in the Western District Court of Virginia, Croon submitted a guilty, signing a plea agreement with prosecutors that would allow him to avoid jail time but carries a term of probation and a potential fine of up to $9,500.

Croon was released on bond but will reappear before the court in Charlottesville for a sentencing hearing on March 7, 2022.

December 16, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

15 minutes to save the world’: a terrifying Virtual Reality journey into the nuclear bunker

15 minutes to save the world’: a terrifying VR journey into the nuclear bunker, Guardian  Julian Borger in WashingtonTue 14 Dec 2021 Nuclear Biscuit, a simulated experience, allows US officials to wargame a missile attack and see the devastating consequences of their choices…………

I was experiencing what a US president would have to do in the event of a nuclear crisis: make a decision that would end many millions of lives – and quite possibly life on the planet – with incomplete information and in less than 15 minutes……………

The VR simulation has been developed by a team from Princeton, American and Hamburg universities, based on extensive research, including interviews with former officials, into what would happen if the US was – or believed itself to be – under nuclear attack. They have called their project the Nuclear Biscuit, after the small card bearing the president’s launch authorization codes.

……………………….. In 1979, the world came within minutes of nuclear war because someone had left a training tape simulating a Russian attack in the early warning system monitors. In September 1983, Russian computers erroneously showed incoming US missiles. Armageddon was only averted because the duty officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov, went against protocols and decided not to act on the alert because his gut told him it was a glitch……….

…………… The pressure to take one of the options presented by the Pentagon felt almost overwhelming. At one point an aide asked how I would be able to face my country if I failed to respond. The simulation raises the question of who chooses those options in the first place. In the 15 minutes available, it would be impossible to put all feasible alternatives in front of a president, so whoever whittles them down holds a huge amount of power. All we know is that it is someone from the US military. Diplomats, politicians or ethicists are not part of the process.

……………  Shockingly, the researchers found no evidence that any US president except Jimmy Carter, had taken part in realistic drills to practise potentially world-ending decisions. Other presidents occasionally participated in table-top exercises with aides to discuss options but more often sent surrogates in their place.

In January, the research team will take their experiment to Capitol Hill, with the aim of provoking some contemplation about the realities underlying US nuclear planning.

“Hopefully members of Congress will come to experience this and at least see the consequences of the choices they’ve made about nuclear weapons issues,” Weiner said. “They will see everybody in that virtual room is trying to do their job, but it’s an impossible job.”   https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/dec/14/vr-game-simulating-nuclear-attack-tests-decision-making-skills

December 16, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protesters denounce French push to label nuclear as sustainable energy

Protesters denounce French push to label nuclear as sustainable energyReuters   PARIS, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Demonstrators unfurled a banner declaring “Gas & nuclear are not green” outside France’s foreign ministry on Tuesday in protest at a government drive to label nuclear energy and fossil gas as sectors for climate-friendly investment……………

Protesters denounce French push to label nuclear as sustainable energy, Reuters   PARIS, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Demonstrators unfurled a banner declaring “Gas & nuclear are not green” outside France’s foreign ministry on Tuesday in protest at a government drive to label nuclear energy and fossil gas as sectors for climate-friendly investment……………

The European Union is preparing a rulebook on climate friendly investments, which from next year will define which activities can be labelled as green in sectors including transport and buildings.

The EU’s aim is to restrict the green investment label to climate-friendly activities, steer cash into low-carbon projects and stop companies or investors making unsubstantiated environmental claims.

The French government hopes that having the sustainable energy label could boost France’s struggling nuclear energy industry, which was bailed out by the state in 2017 following construction delays and cost overruns.

“By taking the lead of the toxic alliance between fossil gas and nuclear (energy) at a European level, Emmanuel Macron clearly sides with the polluters’ camp. Nuclear is not a green energy: it produces radioactive waste that piles up across the country”, said Nicolas Nace, a member of environmentalist group Greenpeace.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said last month that one of the priorities of France’s six-month EU presidency, starting on Jan. 1, would be to include nuclear power in Europe’s sustainable finance taxonomy.

Some EU countries, including Germany, do not agree with this policy.

France generates about three quarters of its electricity in nuclear reactors operated by state-owned utility EDF.  https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/protesters-denounce-french-push-label-nuclear-sustainable-energy-2021-12-14/

December 16, 2021 Posted by | climate change, France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Westinghouse keen get new 40-year operating license for nuclear fuel plant, despite pollution, leakscand spills.

Westinghouse investing $131 million at nuclear fuel plant after recent leaks and spills, The State,  BY NOAH FEIT AND SAMMY FRETWELL DECEMBER 15, 2021

Westinghouse will invest $131 million in its troubled nuclear fuel factory on Bluff Road under a plan that includes improving pollution controls at the facility, which has been plagued by leaks and spills and recently has drawn scrutiny from federal agencies about environmental problems…………..

Wednesday’s announcement is a potentially significant step in the company’s effort to gain a new 40-year operating license, which is critical to keeping the plant open.The current license expires in 2027, but Westinghouse is seeking a new license now to help ensure future stability of its business to customers. An environmental study for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission — a report criticized by some federal agencies as inadequate — recommended the 40-year license, as did an advisory panel to McMaster. But the U.S. Department of the Interior recommended a 20-year license because of pollution that has seeped into groundwater at the plant, a problem the department said could threaten nearby Congaree National Park. Making substantial improvements at Westinghouse could mollify some concerns about future environmental threats………..

According to plans, the company’s $131 million investment includes upgrades to equipment and procedures, increasing the company’s capacity and future growth………
Westinghouse’s fuel plant, which employs about 1,000 workers, has been under intense scrutiny the past five years because of spills and leaks, and information has surfaced about contaminated groundwater that had been unknown for years to regulators and the public. Among other troubles, uranium, a radioactive material, leaked through a hole in the plant’s floor and uranium built up in an air pollution control device, a problem that could have sent a burst of radiation inside the plant. Leaking containers also allowed toxins to dribble into the ground.

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently voiced concerns about the plant in comment letters to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is weighing whether to grant the 40-year license. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources also expressed reservations.
Bob Guild, a veteran environmental lawyer and local Sierra Club member, questioned the impact of the $131 million plant announcement. The news release did not explain in detail how much of the investment would be for specific improvements to protect the environment. It also did not address the legacy of pollution on the property. “I’m very skeptical that there is significant investment in pollution control,’’ he said.“To the extent they are committing resources to improving processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again, all the better,’’ Guild said. “But none of that addresses cleaning up contamination that is historic at the site.’’………….Read more at: https://www.thestate.com/news/business/article256614776.html#storylink=cpy

December 16, 2021 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Buyer beware: NuScale tries a new way to get funding for its small nuclear reactor plan

An Oregon company is going public to raise money for nuclear power ambitions, OPD, 15 Dec 21, 

……………NuScale, headquartered in the Portland suburb of Tigard, will go public by merging with what’s known as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The company, Spring Valley Acquisition Corporation, is already publicly traded. Such mergers have recently gained popularity on Wall Street by allowing private companies the option to go public without the costs or risks associated with the more conventional initial public offering, or IPO.

Other Oregon businesses like the vacation rental company Vacasa and battery manufacturer ESS Tech have also gone public by merging with so-called “blank check” companies. In each of those cases, some investors pulled out when news of the mergers dropped, leaving each company with less money than they’d initially hoped……………

December 16, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Call to halt UK’s Hinkley Point C new EPR nuclear reactor until problems at similar reactor in China resolved.

he Nuclear Free Local Authorities network (NFLA) has written to the
Minister of State for Energy and the Head of the Office of Nuclear
Regulation calling for an indefinite halt to construction work at the new
Hinkley Point C nuclear plant whilst the impact of the Taishan-1 nuclear
accident in China is investigated. T

The Chair of the NFLA Steering Committee, Councillor David Blackburn, has written to Minister Greg Hands and Chief Executive Mark Foy outlining concerns that a radioactive gas leak
at the Taishan 1 reactor in China has uncovered a potentially fatal design
flaw which could have a serious impact on the UK Government’s plans to
permit identical reactors to operate at Hinkley Point C in Somerset and at
Sizewell C in Suffolk. The Hinkley Point and Sizewell projects would both,
like Taishan-1. be equipped with EPRs (short for European Pressurised or
Evolutionary Power Reactors). EPR projects have a history of safety
concerns, massive delays and huge cost overruns. Although the Hinkley Point
C is planned to come on line in 2026, plants at Olkiluoto 3 in Finland and
Flammaville 3 in France are now 13 and 11 years behind schedule
respectively. Sizewell is still awaiting final government authorisation.

 NFLA 13th Dec 2021

December 16, 2021 Posted by | politics, safety, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. Congress passes $740 billion military bill to confront China and Russia — Anti-bellum

From Defense News. Congress passes defense policy bill with budget boost, military justice reforms “It addresses a broad range of pressing issues, from strategic competition with China and Russia, to disruptive technologies like hypersonics, [artificial intelligence], and quantum computing, to modernizing our ships, aircraft, and vehicles,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., said. […]

U.S. Congress passes $740 billion military bill to confront China and Russia — Anti-bellum

December 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment